915-916. Cambridge Brewing Company

Scott, a friend from Texas, was in town the weekend of November 8th, so we met at the CBC for dinner and drinks. There were two new beers on tap so I had one of each.

915. The Audacity of Hops

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Cambridge Brewing Company
Alcohol: ?
Serving: Tap
Style: Belgian IPA

Appearance: 4.5 | Smell: 4.5 | Taste: 5.0 | Mouthfeel: 4.5 | Drinkability: 4.5

Overall: 4.7

I have to admit, I have mixed feelings about Belgian IPAs. I love the concept, and I've enjoyed most of the Belgian IPAs that I've tried. However, most of the examples that I've had seem to be more like a heavily hopped Belgian Strong Pale Ale/Tripel rather than an IPA with a Belgian flavor profile. The characteristic Belgian flavors still seem to dominate. The hops are evident, but aren't the focus, nothing about them really makes me think IPA.

The Audacity of Hops is what I've wanted in a Belgian IPA. Lots of hop flavor with the Belgian characteristics providing the balancing backbone of the beer. The hops seem like the focus rather than an afterthought. You may disagree, but this is what I think a Belgian IPA should be

The Audacity of Hops pours a deeply cloudy golden. Topped by a thick white head that thins to a film leaving sheets of lace. The aroma says IPA more than Belgian. The citric and resiny hop aromas are most evident, with a bit of underlying Belgian yeast fruitiness.

The malts start sweet with bready and caramel notes. The center is fruity, with notes of banana. The finish has a yeasty and peppery kick. The hops are noticeable throughout, but really become strong in the finish with nice resiny and herbal hop flavors that linger in the aftertaste along with a pleasing bitterness. Medium-bodied, with a bit of oiliness from the hops, and a good amount of carbonation without being overdone.

Hoppy, but balanced well. Crisp and drinkable. Like I said, this is what a Belgian IPA should be.

916. Spinal Pumpkin

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Cambridge Brewing Company
Alcohol: 11.00%
Serving: Tap
Style: American Barleywine, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: 4.0 | Smell: 4.0 | Taste: 4.0 | Mouthfeel: 4.0 | Drinkability: 4.0

Overall: 4.0

This is a "Pumpkin Barleywine" brewed with eleven varietals of heirloom pumpkins, as well as spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. Beer Advocate lists this as a Pumpkin Ale, but I'm going to go with the base style.

Pours a hazy, amber brown with a thin, wispy head that fades to a few stray bubbles. Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin. Strong aromas of pumpkin flesh with a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg to complement.

Sweet pumpkin upfront, caramel malts in the center, with a finish of cinnamon and nutmeg complemented by a mild bitterness. Full-bodied and smooth with a mild carbonation.

The alcohol is so well hidden. The beer is a tad sweet but a light, lingering bitterness goes a long way for balance.

Labels: , ,